QP LDN (Mayfair) Restaurant Review

We all love Italian food, hell it’s one of the most popular foods around.  Italian food doesn’t merely consist of pizza and pasta, there is far more of a variety in Italian cooking than some restaurants would have you believe with the limited selections they have on offer.  Don’t get me wrong I love pizza and I love pasta and have written recipes such as my Fig, Mozzarella, Balsamic onion,  Parma ham and Rocket Pizza and my Lobster and King Prawn Pasta and of course enjoyed many meals out consisting of these types of foods but many restaurants seem to offer the same thing.

There are so many gorgeous meals that you can try and where better than at a good quality Italian restaurant located in Mayfair.  The QP LDN restaurant nestled in the heart of London offers patrons a taste of the Amalfi coast without them needing to leave the country.  Perfect for foodies such as myself this restaurant offers diners a choice of menus including their A La Carte, Express Lunch and Early Evening menus.  The lunch and evening menus change regularly making it one of those places you will want to visit often to sample the various delights they have to offer.

On arrival we were greeted warmly and shown to our table.  The seating is very comfy and there is also a bar area with seating where food can also be ordered from the bar menu.  The atmosphere was relaxed and the decor sophisticated.  I loved the addition of the palms and the dimmed lights added to the atmosphere.

The restaurant is far larger than I initially thought when I first arrived.  It was only once I had finished my meal that I decided to have a little nosey around and I discovered a whole second section to the room I was in.

There is even a bar downstairs which is very popular on certain evenings and looks great.  I hope to visit it sometime with friends.

I was booked in for the QP X Early Evening Meal by their lovely PR lady.  At £32 per person this is a bargain for what you get as it won’t leave you hungry.  Just like other Mediterranean’s, Italians are not only very hospitable they also enjoy their food and believe that guests should not leave until they are full.  Anyone who has been to mine for a meal will know this is very true.

Below is the menu we chose from on the evening of our visit which was prepared by Michelin starred chef Antonio Mellino.  He has 2 Michelin stars to be precise and is famed for his freshly made pasta.  He uses finest seasonal ingredients in his meals which are shipped daily from Italy.

EARLY EVENING MENU

Upon arrival, a glass of Champagne will be served along with some Panzerotti and Pizzette

STARTER WITH A CHOICE OF

PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE Q.P.

Aubergine Parmigiana Q.P.

OR

CALAMARO RIPIENO DI PROVOLA E FRIARIELLI CON CREMA DI PATATE

Squid Stuffed with Provola Cheese, Broccoli and Cream of Potato

OR

ZUPPA DI ZUCCA, RISO CROCCANTE, PANE AL PEPERONCINO

Pumpkin Soup Served with Crispy Rice, Bread and Chilli

MAIN COURSE WITH A CHOICE OF

PASTA MISTA CON FAGIOLI BORLOTTI E PECORINO

Pasta Served with Borlotti Beans and Pecorino Cheese

OR

OSSOBUCO, PUREA DI PATATE, ARANCIA E LIMONE

Ossobuco with Mashed Potatoes, Lemone and Orange Sauce

OR

SALMONE SCOTTATO CON SCRAROLA E ACCIUGHE

Seared Salmon Served with Scarola and Anchovy Dressing

DESSERT WITH A CHOICE OF

PROFITEROL AL CIOCOLATO

Chocolate Profiterol

OR

MILLEFOGLIE DI AMARENE E CREMA CHANTILLY

Millefoglie with Black Cherry and Chantilly Cream

OR

SELEZIONE DI FORMAGGI ITALIANI

Selection of Italian Cheese

OR

TAGLIATA DI FRUTTA

Fruit Selection

GELATO AL PISTACCHIO (supplement di £10.00 per persona)

Pistachio ice cream (supplement of £10.00 per person)

Mark was our server for the evening and I must say he did a fabulous job.  He was able to advise us as to which dishes were popular with others and also which he liked and would strongly recommend.  Of course I observed him to see his interaction with others and he was very good.  There was no favouritism towards anyone (meaning us as we were reviewing), all were spoken to in the same manner with the same professionalism, he did an exceptional job.  I loved that he knew our glasses needed filling before we had even noticed and he would appear all of a sudden to make sure we were topped up.  His level of service was equivalent to that that I had received during my afternoon tea at Harrods from the lovely Loretta.  If I opened a restaurant I’d want both of them in it!

The menu we were booked to enjoy included a glass of champagne on arrival but the staff there kindly let us swap this for a bottle of sparkling water.  With our drink was served a selection of breads including wholemeal bread, foccacia, white bread with quinoa and potato, crisp Italian flat bread, grissini with polenta.  Just to note this was not on the set menu but an extra.

These were delicious and we were given a plate with fabulous quality olive oil and a blob of what must have been a balsamic vinegar reduction as it was nice and thick and packed full of flavour.  Still on the olive oil I must say I have not been served one as good as this in a restaurant before and I know good oil as we have freshly olive oil sent to us from Cyprus.  You can tell the good from the bad by the colour and the richness in flavour and if you do get to try this at QP LDN you will love it I assure you.  The breads were all lovely and we were pleased that there was a selection with a range of flavours and textures making it that quite exciting.  My favourite was the crisp Italian flat bread with it’s moreish saltiness.

Next up we are back to the menu.  We were served a panzerotti (stuffed with ricotta) and pizzette (like a pizza) each.  These were served warm and the moment I bit into each I was in heaven.  The bread was gorgeous.  It was soft and light with plenty of flavour of its own.  Within the panzerotti was a deliciously divine ricotta filling that was mouthwatering.  It was extremely smooth and creamy and fabulous!  The pizzette was also delicious and was topped with tomato, cheese and some fresh basil.  Again perfection.  What can I say these were fabulous examples of Italian cooking at it’s best and we hadn’t even gotten to the starters.

The Starters

These were beautifully presented with a variety of colours making them a feast for the eyes as well as our stomachs.

Stuffed Squid

This sure was a winning dish packed full of flavour with tender squid, perfectly cooked greens and a great contrast in texture from the beetroot crisps.  This was lovely and a dish you won’t want to share.  The potato cream worked well with the dish adding moisture and additional flavour but at the same time but not overpowering the flavour of the other ingredients.
Aubergine Parmigiana

A great interpretation of the dish this was not only rich in flavour but it wasn’t as oily as the dish baked version found in many restaurants.  The light fluffy cheese sauce on the side was lovely and was almost like eating a flavourful cloud.  The portion of this and the other starter was quite substantial and at this stage I was not sure if I would be able to finish the whole meal.

Having enjoyed everything so far we looked forward to tucking into the main dishes.

The Mains

Ossobuco with Mashed Potatoes, Lemone and Orange Sauce

Wow, this was a big portion and I was relieved that it was my friends dish as I knew the second it arrived I would never have managed to eat the whole thing.  The meat was tender, it literally melted in the mouth and was rich in flavour.  The meat fell of the bone instantly and combined with the sauce and mash made for a very tasty and hearty meal.

Pasta Served with Borlotti Beans and Pecorino Cheese

Simple yet tasty I had to try this to see how good the pasta really was and to say I was impressed was an understatement.  The dish combined a mix of perfectly formed pasta shapes which were Al dente (firm to the bite) with cheese and beans and had a fair amount of flavour.  The sauce was nice and creamy as you can see from the photo and this dish was nice and tasty.

With the meal we also had one side dish suggested by Mark – the fried zucchini and what can I say other than I was thankful he was there that day.  These were delicious, crispy and nicely salted giving them that additional favour and making them rather moreish.

By this stage we were pretty full.  But of course we were not going to skip dessert it’s the best part of the meal as my friend and I both have a sweet tooth.  Unable to decide what to have we were rescued by the lovely Mark who helped make the decision for us suggesting the Millefoglie and the pistachio ice cream.

Pistachio Ice Cream

This was placed on a serving table next to ours prior to presentation.  Anyone that likes pistachio ice cream will be in their element as this was truly magnificent.  The ice cream is akin to some authentic Italian ice cream I tried in Las Vegas years ago and I can honestly say we hadn’t been as quiet all evening as we were at that moment.  We wanted to fully savour the moment and enjoy the velvety soft and smooth ice cream as it gently melted in our mouths revealing small chunks of pistachio.

Note the colour of the ice cream indicating that this has been made with natural products and that colouring has not been added.  Honestly if I can make pistachio ice cream as good as this I know my friends would be over everyday.  I have yet to experiment with this having barely survived half term with all our tutors and out of school clubs.  The ice cream was so good we were not sure whether the Millefoglie could measure up to this but sure enough it was just as fantastic a dessert.

Millefoglie with Black Cherry and Chantilly Cream

This is the Italian version of the French pastry Mille-feuille meaning 1000 leaves / layers.  The pastry itself has a delicate flavour but is lovely and crispy.  The Chantilly cream and cherry combination works perfectly and this should not be over looked as a dessert nor should it be left in the shadow of the ice cream.  These are both desserts that I would highly recommend for their different textures and flavours which really do excited the taste buds and each is a heavenly dessert in its own right.

This really is a gem of a restaurant that serves gorgeous, great quality meals that are a cut above many others.   I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with your local pizzeria but for those looking for something a bit more authentic in relation to Italian food this is the place to try.  The quality of their dishes surpass most and the service is just as good.  This really has to be one of the best Italian restaurants in London and I am looking forward to visiting and trying more of their delicious meals with friends soon.

If you do go make sure you take a look at this work of art.  It’s a chair consisting of aluminium tubes dipped in gold and worth a staggering half a million pounds!  The chap sitting on the chair was lovely and just like me is a hugger so of course I got a big hug on my way out.

This is a great restaurant and they have got everything spot on.  If I was to make any suggestions then I would maybe add another dish or two to the options available in the main dish selection on the menu we had but other than that these guys have it all covered.

If you do pay them a visit make sure that you bring your appetite!

Have you tried any Italian dishes other than pizza or pasta?

Glossy Lip Liner (Ruimio)

I know I haven’t written many beauty posts recently and it’s one of the things I plan to feature a bit more this year, well we all love great new products or at least ones that are new to us and that work well.  I have been doing a little shopping and wanted to share the news of some lovely new products that I was fortunate enough to come across.  Today I wanted to feature some lip liner pencils that I recently discovered and thought would be of interest.  These are lip liners are by a brand called Ruimio.  These guys appear to do a whole range of different cosmetics and I am hoping to try a few different products eventually.

The Ingredients

Elaeis guineensis, Elaeis guineensis (palm) oil, hydrogenated coconut, Copernicia cerifera (carnauba wax), bees wax, tocopherol lanolin, petrolatum and zinc stearate.

Not too bad as some products go although anyone with allergies to lanolin should probably avoid these.

The Product

The pack of lip liners features 12 different colours ranging from a gorgeous nude brown which is my favourite to pretty pinks, purple and an orange.

In the box aside from the pencils you will also find a small leaflet which includes the ingredients, written instructions and diagrams on how to use the product.  The range of colours is great as it has enough to suit all and also to allow for a bit of colour mixing and experimentation.  Each lip liner has it’s colour at the end on the pencil so that it can be clearly seen without needing to remove the lid.  There are no colour names or numbers.  The pencils are decorated nicely although I would probably remove some of the writing as the design would look better simplified in my opinion.  The pencils themselves are simple to use.  There is no need to press excessively for the colour to show, a simple soft touch trace around the lips will suffice.  The lip liner can also be used as a lipstick if you fill in the lip with colour.  These pencils can also be used as eyeliners although I have yet to use them in this way.

The Results

The instructions said to hold the tip of the pencil between your fingers to warm it to soften it a little and make it easier to use.  I found even with applying the product directly it was easy to use and it seemed to be softened by direct contact with the lips anyway.

On application the pencil nib did not break apart but stayed firm but soft.  The lip pencil had a silky soft texture.

The lip liners are well pigmented so it doesn’t take long to get a good coverage.

The colour didn’t take long at all to dry which was great so no matter how many double checks I did it didn’t come off on my fingers.  I will admit to have checked it about 5 or 6 times to check and no colour came off!!!!

The colour stays in place and doesn’t seep into any creases around the lips (not that I have many!)

When filling the lips with these colours – using them as a lipstick, they looked great as they were and with a light lip gloss application.

My lips didn’t seem very glossy when the lip liner was applied but then my lips were very dry and I had applied the lip liner to the whole lip so a touch of lip balm / face cream helped add moisture and made my lips look great.

The colour lasted for a fair amount of time and it didn’t really need much reapplication after food and drink although that depends on what you eat.  The instructions say that this is waterproof so I tested this by licking my lips and noticed when I did touch my lips some colour did come off on my fingers but on the whole this did seem to preform quite well.  After about 7 hours with no touch ups the inner lip had lost colour and really was in need of another application but the outer parts of the lips were still as coloured as they were when I had applied the colour.  I would suggest checking after meals and every 3 or so hours just in case although I doubt many touch ups would be required.   Considering the price of these products they do seem to be good value for money.  The price varies from £8.99 to £13.90.

For any of you that fancy getting some of these I found them on both ebay and Amazon, but Amazon has them on special offer.

Have you tried any Ruimio products before?

Lalaloopsy Potty Surprise (includes a FAB competition)

A little while back we introduced you all to Lalaloopsy.  Lalaloopsy have a range of fun, brightly coloured toys for little ones and one of them that you may have seen advertised on children’s tv recently is Lalaloopsy Potty Surprise.  Now of course the second my girls saw this they wanted to have one, who wouldn’t it’s a doll that poops!!!!!!  I’m really excited about this particular toy because it has arrived at around the time that the mini man is more conscious about trying to go to the toilet and this has coincided with him actually using the toilet.  I think that seeing the doll and his sisters go to the toilet and not wearing nappies has really spurred him to wanting to be a big boy and using the toilet.  My little man has started stripping and running bare bottomed to the toilet although he can’t quite get on it without help just yet.  It’s hilarious, he has totally perfected the stripping part it takes him seconds and before you know it you have a toddler running starkers around the house, it’s pretty hilarious I must say!  Not so much when we have an accident on the floor though but we will work through that.  Anyway back to Lalaloopsy.  As you can see this doll is cute with her large dark button eyes and my girls love her.Lala1

 In the box you get the doll, 3 different coloured foods, a bowl, a spoon and a potty.  And of course importantly it’s super easy to use.

Using the spoon to portion out some food.

There are various shapes and the kids loved discovering new ones in the potty.

Both my girls and Mr Squishy love playing with this and the great thing is that no matter how many times they have left the lid open the food which is like kinetic sand does not seem to dry out, good to know as we all know what children are like.  The food pot lids and the potty are all nicely decorated which I liked and this is one of those super toys that you don’t need to get batteries for making it a great gift as that’s one less expense and thing to remember, bonus!  A lot of thought that has gone into this toys presentation which is great.  When we were first playing with this I did notice when the doll wasn’t used properly the poop didn’t form a shape so be sure to follow our instructions above or via our YouTube video:

How much fun is that!

Now like all parents, grandparents, loving aunts and uncles we want to get our hands on these great toys but also where possible want to save ourselves a few pounds in the process.  With that in mind I did a quick price comparison and found the doll being sold by numerous shops for over £30 except for one!!!!  I am pleased to tell you I have found probably the bargain of the month for those needing to by something like this as a gift.  I found Lalaloopsy Potty Surprise was being sold for just £14.99 in Argos stores so if you want one hurry and get ordering online as once the deal sites get wind of it this they will sell out!!!!  You heard it here first lol.

 I am going to add some more good news to that.  We have a super duper competition for one of my lovely readers to win a Lalaloopsy Potty Surprise Doll!!!!!

Isn’t that fabulous!

Entry is super easy just enter via the rafflecopter form.

Instructions if needed can be found here:

http://melaniesfabfinds.co.uk/competitions/how-to-enter-rafflecopter-competitions/

Not all of the entry options are compulsory but the more you do the more entries you will gain.

Look out for the daily entry options for extra entries.

Likes on Facebook are NOT compulsory but are very much appreciated plus it will ensure you don’t miss great posts, freebies and competitions.

Want to receive Melanie’s Fab Finds posts once they are live?  Why not subscribe to be the first to have all my recipes, reviews, competitions etc. delivered straight to your inbox. Don’t worry I won’t spam you.

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Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!

Mango Swirl Pavlova

Over the years I have written many recipes.  Some of these recipes have been featured on my blog, others in magazines and on other blogs and for the first time I have a recipe being featured in an e- cookbook.  How exciting!!!!!!  Various bloggers were approached and asked to write a budget recipe and I decided to rise to the challenge with my Mango Swirl Pavlova.  This is not only super simple to make but also tastes great and costs just 27p per serving!

The pavlova is large enough for 6 portions, unless you are my friend Jane and then probably enough for 3 or less.  She does love my pavlova and was kind enough to help me with the tasting and has helped with tastings of numerous others over the years.  Why does she love my pavlova?  Take a look below:

This has the most gorgeous light fluffy centre with a perfectly crisp shell.  I normally love to combine my pavlovas with vanilla cream and fresh cut strawberries but I thought I’d be adventurous and had wanted to try and be a bit different.  With my Mango Swirl Pavlova I actual swirled in some freshly made mango coulis into the pavlova base prior to baking so it’s actually cooked into the pavlova.  After this I added my toppings as seen in the picture above and voila you have an amazing dessert that is inexpensive and delicious!

Fancy trying to make it yourself?  Pop over and check out my budget pavlova recipe as well as some other great budget recipes here:

https://www.voucherbox.co.uk/blog/free-cookbook-low-cost-recipes/

Enjoy!

Spaccanapoli Covent Garden

Those of you that read my Blogging Goals for 2017 post will be aware that one of my goals was to eat my way around more London restaurants.  I have of course be revisiting old favourites but now have a new restaurant under my belt to tell you all about.  My friend and I recently braved the cold weather and ventured out to a restaurant located in Covent Garden called Spaccanapoli.  There seem to be a cluster of restaurants in the area where this particular restaurant was which all had large floor to ceiling glass windows making them look very inviting.

Spaccanapoli2

The restaurant we visited had two tables occupied on our arrival and during the time we spent there only one other group of guests come along to dine.  The seating was comfortable, roomy yet the restaurant was small and there was a nice relaxed atmosphere.

This particular meal was prepaid by us online, it was a deal found on the groupon site.  The offer was for the following:

Choice of starters includes: platter of Napoli prosciutto and salami | Toasted bread with tomatoes, garlic and basil | mixed grilled vegetables.

Choice of mains includes: gnocchi | lasagna | penne Siciliana | pizza margherita with tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies and oregano | pizza Americana with salami, tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan and basil | pizza vegetariana with tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, courgettes & mozzarella).

Apolina, a white or dark chocolate Italian treat will be served as a dessert.

Deal also includes a glass of house red or white wine each.

The waiter seemed friendly enough and flitted from table to table assisting the customers before vanishing off into the kitchen.

The menu was varied enough for the price and should you prefer you can swap your wine for a soft drink.

The House White

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This wine was palatable and went well with my meal although it did look more like a half glass than a full one.

The Starter

Platter of Napoli Prosciutto and Salami

Spaccanapoli1

The cut was very thin and the Prosciutto was pretty fatty as you can see from the picture.  The bread was warm on arrival which was nice.  I would have preferred if the salami used looked a bit more appealing and less anaemic the picture gives the salami a redder colour then it actually had.  You can get such a lovely range of salamis that are not expensive from the supermarkets that look more appealing than those we were served.  The portion size for a starter was more than adequate.

The Main

Lasagna

Spaccanapoli3

The lasagna came out sizzling and looked very nice.  The portion size was good and there was plenty of mince inside but the lasagna itself needed more flavour.

Dessert

This was extremely disappointing.  We would have liked something a little more substantial and we were not given the option of white or dark chocolate.  Instead we were given a glass that had something that we were told was caramel dessert which tasted a big like angel delight but with a thinner runnier consistency.  It was edible but I would have preferred a glass with tiramisu.

Spaccanapoli4For £19.95 for two people this wasn’t bad but I wouldn’t venture there again for this particular meal but the pizza did look good so maybe I just chose the wrong thing.  The price is reasonable and I think that if I was to venture there again I would probably go for the Bruschetta and a pizza.

Have you tried Spaccanapoli yet?

Holidaying In Europe with Your Pet

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I have always loved animals since I was a child and apparently animals seem to love me as I am one of those people that animals seem to get excited on seeing (I have this affect on children too which is useful).  On numerous power walks I have made new friends who have then decided to follow me on part of my walks.  It’s not just me though we are a nation of animal lovers.  Our pets don’t take long to become an important part of our daily lives.

They are our loyal companions who see us through the ups and downs and make great listeners.  The comfort and love they show us daily is unconditional.  They become family from the first day they arrive at home, and you want to spend every second playing with them and cuddling them.  It’s not always easy to leave them at home while you go to work but worse still is to have to leave them with someone whilst you go on vacation.  Fortunately travelling with pets has become much easier over the years and the steps to enable them to be able to come with us are simple and straight forward.

I am sure some of you would love to take your pets abroad but in some cases not knowing the process involved to allow you to do so puts you off so in this post you will find all the information you will require.  Make sure you check out the various links for further details on the topics in bold.

The Checklist for Your Pet

 Before travelling with your pet it’s important to make a checklist of the steps that need to be fulfilled before departure.  First of all, your pet will need a pet passport plus a super cute picture to go with it.  Your veterinarian will be a fundamental part of this process.  Before any vaccines, or paper work, remember that your pet should be micro-chipped (in many countries it is required by law).  The chip serves as a permanent ID, in case of emergency situations so for example if your pet gets lost and then found thanks to the chip he/she will be recognised and linked to the respective owner.  A common vaccination that may be required is for rabies.  After having this your will need to wait 21 days before they can travel.

Don’t forget their favourite toy(s) and a blanket to help keep them calm during travelling and settle into the new surrounding better.

If your pet requires medication / special shampoos, creams these will need to be packed too.

Don’t forget too pack a spare leash and muzzle in case they are needed.

Choosing the Right Means of Transportation

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Once you go through your checklist, and get your pet the appropriate jabs you then have to choose your mode of transportation.  Whether you are going near or far, the way you choose to travel is important for both you and your pet.  One of the best, and more efficient ways is travelling by air.  Travelling by plane is, as we all know one of the safest forms of travel and picking the right service provider that will care about your pet’s comfort is important.  One company that provides international transportation for pets by air is Bliss Pet Service.  Bliss Pet follows your loved one from start to finish and ensures their trip goes as smoothly as yours.  Started in 2011 this company has a 98% satisfaction rate.

After dealing with all the paper work and veterinarians visits, comes the fun part, deciding where to go.  You will need to make sure you do a little research into where your little furry friend will be accepted without any problems.  The world is your oyster obviously, but some of the best problem-free places to visit include Italy, Germany and Switzerland. These countries are known to be extra pet-friendly and do not mind when you want to bring pets along with you.  You and your pet will be able to do almost everything together.  In fact, your 4 legged friend is welcomed in places such as shops, restaurants and hotels.  Bringing them on public transport is also possible, as long as you keep them on a leash and have a muzzle with you just in case.

It is far easier to travel with pets than you may think and lovely not to have to leave them behind.

Have you ever travelled with a pet(s)?

Tips & Advice For Landing The Job You Want In 2017

Looking to make a jump start with your career this Year?  You’re in luck; the global job market also tends to start fresh at the beginning of the year with new job positions being advertised.  Below we explore five tips that should help you land the job you want in 2017.

Tailor Your Resume for the Job You Want

Having a completed resume requires a lot more than writing down the basics – job titles, description and education.  I used to look through applications before deciding who I wanted to interview for the various positions that became available and the resumes that would get my attention were ones that stood out.  You need to think about what makes you a unique candidate and how you can illustrate this message through your resume.  If you are hoping to land a job after university or a job in another industry, it is extra important to tailor your resume to the type of job you are applying for.  For example, if you are applying to a job for a non-profit organisation, highlighting your volunteer work could be a great way to show how and why you would be a good fit.  Leave out information that is not important to the role as employers don’t want to read through pages and pages to get to relevant information.

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Social Media

Having a strong social media presence in the 2017 job market is more crucial than ever before.  A must-have for job seekers nowadays is a social presence on LinkedIn.  Other mainstream social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, are also important, although in some industries more than in others.  Before applying, be sure to clean up your accounts and/or make them private.  In today’s market, employers are commonly using all social media platforms to learn more about job seekers and whether they would be a good fit for their company culture.  Job seekers can also leverage mainstream social media to connect with employers for openings that they are interested in.

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Apart from mainstream social media, it is also important to be active on some of the well-established job-search sites.  Job-search sites keep you updated with new job opportunities in a particular area or industry, help take off some of the searching stress, and sometimes even provide you with practice interview questions.

Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are a great way for job seekers to seek advice on what it is like to work for a specific company, an industry they are interested in, and steps to reach specific career goals.  Meeting with professionals that you trust opens the door for conversation to not only learn from a professional that you respect, but also to learn more about what you may or may not want to further pursue.

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Be Considerate to Others You Meet on the Way to your interview

Though going into an interview can be quite nerve-wracking for all and it is very important to remember to be polite to all you meet on your way there.  Many companies view company culture to be very important, so it is quite common to check on how you interacted with others throughout the building, you never know who you might meet!

Follow up within 24 hours

A quick note thanking your interviewer is always appreciated and a great way to be remembered!

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Though it can take a great deal of preparation, landing the job you want can be made a bit smoother by following these tips and staying true to yourself!

Good Luck!

Do you have any great tips / advice for job hunters?

 

Top 5 Low Cost Ideas to Have Fun This January

January is not the most fun month of the year.  The weather is gloomy and it can be very cold.  The bank balance is looking rather depleted after Christmas and the January sales really haven’t done much to help this.  But think of it another way, you are going out far less so saving that money you hadn’t been paid yet and may have otherwise spent.  This is the perfect opportunity to catch up on fun activities that maybe you didn’t have the chance to before.

Here are my top 5 low budget ideas to have fun this January without having a drastic effect on your bank balance.

Go out for Dinner using Restaurant Vouchers

We all love going out for dinner, I know I do but it can be a costly pastime.  Going through websites that provide discount vouchers such as Buyagift or My Voucher Codes can give a reasonable saving plus you may discover some wonderful new restaurants that you might not have otherwise.  For example Buyagift has a 2 for 1 on a 3 course meal at The Hilton on Park Lane costing only £49.  Naturally I couldn’t resist and had to look at the menu – it’s what I do lol I AM food obsessed!  The menu is varied and I must say looks good enough to entice me out on a freezing cold winters day / night.

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The rest of my suggestions will be based from home making them equally as fun but also a little lighter on the pocket.

Dinner with Friends

This can be pretty pricey if one person foots the bill and that is not what we are looking for.  Each guest will bring a dish (prearranged so you don’t all bring a main and miss out on dessert as that would be a disaster).  Don’t forget to ask them all to bring a bottle of something alcoholic or not.  Avoid pot luck as I’ve been invited to these before and once you have tried the 3rd persons offering of a potato salad you can get pretty fed up and it’s not so much fun.  Everyone tends to have a speciality dish which they can whip up fast or at least easily and tastes great.  Another option that leads on from this is a theme night.  These can be petty fun (don’t forget you also have the option of fancy dress too here for those so inclined) and you can try some delicious dishes without is costing a fortune.  For those that lack confidence in the kitchen you have two options either buy a dish or simply arrange a few evenings with friends where they can teach you how to make various dishes as in my last suggestion.  Not only is it great fun it also increases your cooking range and makes meals far more exciting as you can improvise with ingredient the next time you make the dish to create other dishes.

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My Courgetti, Tomato, Chorizo and Olive recipe is easy to make, low calorie and very tasty.

Movie Night at Home

Movie night can be great fun and pretty inexpensive too.  I love to snuggle with my daughters and little boy on the sofa and watch cartoons or animated movies whilst nibbling on homemade popcorn and a share bag of chocolate.  Alternatively, once the kids are in bed it’s always nice to snuggle up to my husband and watch a movie.  If we are feeling social then I tend to grab the phone and invite a few friends over.  We love to sit around the tv watching movies and munching on snacks and drinking wine or hot chocolate or one of my homemade cocktails (I have enough alcohol to stock a bar it’s great! – surprisingly I don’t drink very often).  Again the expense is minimal if all contribute and this can often be a fun night in catching up and enjoying a great film.  I am hoping to have some friends over soon for one of these nights in – for my friends reading this, whatssap message coming to your phone soon!  PS. I have a new dessert you simply must try!!!!!!!!!!!

PPS.  Can you let me know which of these you want to watch???

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For any of my readers that might like to watch any of the above movies they are very well priced on Amazon.  I found The Hobbit for £4.49 on there, bargain!

Games Night at Home

This has got to be one of my favourite things to do along with watching movies with anyone that will watch them with me and dining in or out with friends and family.  Whether I am playing board games with the children or with our fabulous Marble Run (I love this it’s fabulous!!!!!) which is perfect for children and those like me that are very young at heart.

You have to see this in action it’s so much fun!

Want an adults night games night instead.  Not a problem again you can grab your board games and interactive games and have a great time.  My friends have various versions of Scene It and one recently bought a Disney one.  I can’t wait for her to bring it so we all have a play I think my chances are pretty good if the questions are about the movies and nothing too complicated!  That is definitely something that will make a fun evening in.  There are other versions of Scene It including a Harry Potter one, Friends, Music, Movies and others.

Baking / Cooking with Friends

As I mentioned we all have dishes we are fabulous at making and that our friends would love to learn to make too.  An evening in teaching each other how to make them would be something that I would really enjoy and would be beneficial to all.  I have been promising one of my friends that I would help her learn to make my pavlovas.  I will agree they are brilliant and that’s not me tooting my own horn – you simply must try one to fully appreciate how good they are.  These are a favourite amongst my family and I am always asked to bring one to family get-togethers.  Why not take a look at my Black Forest Fruits Eaton Mess, or my Eaton Mess with Pimms recipes to get a simple and delicious pavlova recipe.  Eaton Mess basically includes a broken up pavlova with some kind of fruit and cream added and is a lovely recipe.

    It is of course easier to see them being made than to follow instructions which are not always clear.  Having taught people / trained staff in the past I learnt that that the best way to learn is to do it yourself so having friends over or going to them and talking them through a recipe can be the best way to teach them how to make it plus it’s fun.  The best part is that they might let you try it after too, yum!!!!!!
 
What do you think of my low budget ways to enjoy January 2017?
Do you have any suggestions that you might add?

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Why the Fuss About Charlotte Tilbury Creams?

With the growing popularity of Charlotte Tilbury products I noticed over the course of last year everywhere I turned I would see them mentioned whether in an advert or a promotion.  There were staff in store beauty departments in London’s West End spraying copious amounts of the “New” fragrance onto passers by.  The promoters really did go to town making sure the products where almost everywhere.

I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

Are they Really that Good?

Having looked around the internet at various reviews it seems that people are pretty impressed by the products.  I had a small free sachet sample of the day, night and eye cream sent through the post and here are my initial reactions to the products.

Magic Cream

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Although the sample size wasn’t very large I did get a good idea of the absorbency level and also the texture of the products and how they felt on the skin.  The Magic cream absorbed well and after application my face was left feeling silky soft without any dry patches.  The moisturiser is not too rich and did not leave a coating on the surface of the face or the hands.  It is a great base for make up and holds foundation, concealer and powder well on the skin.  The aroma was pleasant and not at all overpowering.

The cream itself contains a range of ingredients including plant based and is paraben free.  It claims to increase collagen production and also contains SPF15 and a UVA filter to help fight the ageing effects of sun (did you know chocolate can help prevent against some forms of sun damage?).

Magic Night Cream

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The texture of the night cream was far richer and heavier than either of the other two sample creams that I tried.  It was similar to a vaseline like consistency and it left my hands and face feeling greasy to the touch.  It took a little while for this to be absorbed into the skin.  The cream had left the skin on my face and hands feeling silky soft in the morning and that thickness of cream consistency for me wasn’t an issue although I do know that some people don’t like the feel of this sort of cream texture on their skin.  The cream ingredients are well thought out as in the other products featured here and really are a good recipe for great looking skin.

Magic Eye Rescue

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This too absorbed well into the skin well and leaves the skin feeling soft and moisturised.  The formula is slightly thicker and heavier than the Magic Cream but not as thick as the Magic Night Cream.  I thought the thickness of the cream was good as the skin around the eye area tends to need that extra little help.  This takes a little longer to soak than the day cream in due to the consistency but soaks into the skin all the same and makes a great basis for foundation and concealer if you are trying to hide dark circles.

This comprises of a range of natural ingredients and is said to be an “anti-ageing rescue remedy that works to slow down the ticking time bomb of ageing” on the Charlotte Tilbury website.  Studies have shown an improvement within 8 weeks of trials but having used this for just a few days I unfortunately cannot confirm this although with my skin being as receptive to these sorts of products as it is I am sure it would show an improvement sooner than that length of time.

The products seemed pretty good from initial assessment and my skin did not react to any of them.  I did have a healthy glow to my skin although that could also have been due to the fact I had been exercising and drinking lots of water.

If you want to buy all three you are looking at an investment of £215.  Don’t forget anything that will actually help give you a younger looking healthy skin is an investment for your future appearance and starting early will be something you are thankful for as the signs of ageing slowly appear or begin to wave manically at everyone as they progress.  The set can be found with a saving of £15 from the individual product size on the Charlotte Tilbury site which is good to know.  I appreciate for some this is still a bit steep so if you really want to try something from the range I would suggest going for the Magic Cream (day) at £70 and see how you go.  Even if you are not using all three products if the products do what they claim to then there should still be a marked improvement with continued use for two to three months.

Have you tried the Charlotte Tilbury creams before?

This is NOT a sponsored post.

 

Blogging Goals for 2017

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This is my first post of 2017 so I would like to begin by wishing you all a Happy new Year.

Now it’s that time again that we are all making resolutions and setting goals for the year.  I have been thinking about what my goals would be for 2017 in relation to the blog.  My goodness there is so much I could write in this post but whether I would be able to achieve everything would be questionable due to time constraints.  Instead of writing a long winded post I though the best things to do was sum up my main goals for the year to give me something achievable to work too as I of course need to also allow for time with my lovely little family, friends, cooking, unforeseen circumstances, school shows, sleeping – I stayed up until all hours to complete blog posts in 2016 so need to learn to turn off the computer, and other things that may arise in my daily life.

One of my aims is to increase my daily views of the blog by bringing you all great content on a variety of subjects including recipes, fashion (adult’s and children’s), restaurant reviews, toy reviews, health and beauty posts and more.  I also hope to add some more great competitions as we all love these.

I would also love to increase the range of companies that I work with to bring you news about great new products (new to my blog at least).

I am also hoping to include guest posts from other bloggers as well as write guest posts myself where appropriate and haven’t really done anything like this so I’m not sure how it will work just yet.

I am looking forward to eating my way around more London Restaurants and tell you all about them or at least the good ones anyway.

I have been working on my photography but still want to improve this further.

I want to try and do video reviews on a more regular basis.

With these in mind and an inbox filling up with some interesting collaboration requests it’s set to be a fun and busy year.

Have you set yourself goals for 2017?

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Melanie x

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